I am really delighted to tell you that we are ready to reopen St James for Public Worship from next Sunday, Sunday 19th July which will also be Fr Adam’s first Sunday with us.
This has been a long haul, seventeen weeks in fact, and as fasting goes, the inability to be together, pray together, sing together, receive Communion together and simply laugh together has been very far from easy. Even now we are not out of the woods and we won’t be able to do everything just as we did before, nor will everyone feel able to return straightaway. We will continue to offer worship and other activities online to ensure that no one is left behind, I am acutely aware that for some (many) these have been a real lifeline.
As with every organisation currently re-opening a huge amount of work has been done in advance and I am very grateful to PCC members and others who have given their time to this. You will need to bear with us in that a number of things cannot simply be as normal.
- The capacity of the church is limited as we have introduced 2 metre social distancing for your safety
- You will need to book your place in advance by 5.00pm on Saturdays (see the poster for details) having your details means we can offer track and trace if needs be.
- If the 11.00am Mass is oversubscribed there will be an extra Mass at 12 noon to ensure everyone can attend and make their communion
- Please use the hand sanitiser on arrival
- The collection plate will be at the door
- You will be guided to a seat by a steward. The earlier you arrive the more likely you will be able to sit in or near your ‘normal’ seat, if you have one! Please wait to be admitted from 20 minutes before the service.
- Seats are designated in advance – only sit where there is a red marker and a service sheet
- Communion will be administered standing from a single point at the front of the Altar platform – a steward will be on hand to guide you
- We may have an organist to provide music before, during and after Mass, but we are not yet permitted to sing as a congregation
- There will be no Tea and Coffee afterwards, you are welcome to socialise, socially distanced, on the lawn outside after Mass if you wish
After July 19th we will continue to offer daily acts of worship wherever possible, albeit at some stage you will understand that Maria and I will need to take some annual leave as it is seven months since my last break.
From Sunday 19th July, Sunday’s online Mass will come, initially, live from Walsingham at 9.00am and will be available via our Livestream page as normal, and on demand after live transmission. We will need to update the equipment we have and look at issues around internet access before we can broadcast live from church in a way that won’t distract those who are worshipping in church. We hope to resolve these issues by September.
Weekday worship will continue to come live from The Vicarage initially. Fr Gary and Fr Adam will be looking at these issues as a priority once Fr Adam is in post and each Friday evening we will continue to let you know what is scheduled for the Sunday and the following week.
Thank you to everyone who has helped keep the worshipping community praying, either online or privately at home. Thank you to all who have delivered information and collated and stapled around a 1000 booklets. And thank you to all those who have prayed for me, your prayers have made a huge difference and have helped sustain me through it all. And thank you to Maria (and Libby, and now Ben too home from university) who have borne the brunt of our home becoming in effect the Parish Church for the duration, not just the Dining Room becoming a Domestic Chapel but most of the Sitting Room becoming a sacristy and a vestry too.
And in the midst of the organised chaos strides Fr Adam. The brief Licensing Ceremony which will happen via Zoom and be simulcast live via our Facebook Livestream here: www.facebook.com/StJamesHanslopeLiveStream/
This short ceremony will be conducted by the Bishop of Buckingham, Bishop Alan Wilson, assisted by Bishop Jonathan. It will be streamed live from The Vicarage at 3.30pm on Thursday 16th July, do put the date and time in your diary.
There will be a Zoom Drinks Party to celebrate his arrival on Thursday evening at 8.00pm
Join us via Zoom here:
Meeting ID: 933 487 4337 Password: Rosary
I hope to see many of you next Sunday morning – don’t forget – book yourself in!!